General

Nawaz owned London flats while holding public office, investigation officer tells court

The investigation officer in the Avenfield properties reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family said today that the NAB investigation proves Nawaz was the owner of the London flats while he was holding public office.
The statement was made as National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s investigation officer Imran Dogar, the last prosecution witness, resumed recording his statement in the case. 
“The properties were purchased through offshore companies in someone else’s name [to hide ownership],” Dogar informed the court.
The officer asserted that the suspects failed to prove a source of income for purchasing the properties, adding that the London flats were in the use of Nawaz and his family since 1993.
He also informed the court that the trust deeds which Maryam Nawaz submitted to the JIT were proven fake. Maryam, Hasan and Hussain aided Nawaz in hiding the ownership of the properties, the officer added. 
Dogar further told the court that the investigation showed that the suspects were guilty of being involved in corruption and corrupt practices – which is an arrestable crime under the NAB Ordinance 1999.
The JIT reached its conclusion in the light of the Robert Radley report, he added.  
Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases in the Accountability Court-I after the NAB filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case.
In his statement today, Dogar also stated that Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan official Sidra Mansoor informed NAB about the Hudaibiya Paper Mills.
During the hearing, intermittent power cuts disturbed the proceedings, with the court continuing the trial by use of emergency lights. 
Nawaz and daughter Maryam could not appear in court today as they were unable to leave Lahore owing to inclement weather.
Similarly, Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez also failed to appear in court for similar reasons and his associate counsel submitted a power of attorney on behalf of his client. 
At the last hearing on April 30, Nawaz’s counsel had requested the court not to allow recording of Dogar’s statement.
The judge ruled that he will give an order on the plea later and directed for the recording of Dogar’s statement.
In his testimony, Dogar apprised the court of the course of investigation in the reference.
The court then adjourned the hearing till Thursday. 
The cases
The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.
The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.
Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.
The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.